From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Inductive reasoning is the process of making inferences based upon observed patterns, or simple repetition. Often used in reference to predictions about will happen or does happen, based upon what has happened.
It is used to ascribe properties or relations to types based on an observation instance (i.e., on a number of observations or experiences); or to formulate laws based on limited observations of recurring phenomenal patterns. Induction is employed, for example, in using specific propositions such as:
- This ice is cold. (or: All ice I have ever touched was cold.)
- This billiard ball moves when struck with a cue. (or: 100/100 billiard balls struck with a cue moved.)
...to infer general propositions such as:
- All ice is cold.
- All billiard balls move when struck with a cue.